Anna Oppermann
Neverending Paradox.
Philosophical Ensembles of the late 1980s

Anna Oppermann Einerseits andereseits SMAK

Get to know the visually overwhelming work of the German artist Anna Oppermann. She reflected on the world in her own way in kaleidoscopic ensembles of objects, photos, paintings and text.

The work of Anna Oppermann (1940-93, Germany) is pioneering in the way it brings together ideas from process art, conceptual art, and the arte povera and performance art of the 1960s and 1970s. She composed variable assemblages of objects, texts, photographs, coloured photo-canvases and paintings, which she called ensembles. This exhibition brings three of the last ones together for the first time: 'Myth and Enlightenment' (1985-92), 'Paradoxical Intentions – To lie the Blue down from the Sky' (1988-92) and 'On the one hand… on the other hand; both… and (M+M)' (1988-92). They interweave highly diverse, sometimes conflicting elements and express the artist’s experience of the complexity of the world with all its contrasts.

Each ensemble arised from found objects, images and ideas which to the artist had become metaphors for the diversity, absurdity and contrasts of personal and public life. She described them as exercises in observation and insight that are in principal infinite. In the 1960s, Oppermann mainly worked on questions raised by her personal life. In the 1980s she shifted her focus to economic, political and philosophical views on art and society, and became involved in the debate on postmodernity, where the seeming contrast or paradox is a key concept. Before her premature death, Oppermann developed more than 60 ensembles.

This exhibition was curated by Ute Vorkoeper and organised in collaboration with the Anna Oppermann Estate and Galerie Barbara Thumm.

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